Tuesday, July 14, 2009


One of the best artist blogs I've ever read was by Amanda Palmer from the band The Dresden Dolls (who if you haven't heard, you need to reassess life). When I say "best" I guess I really mean "honest." The posts had lots of what you'd expect from a touring artist -- highlights from shows, artists she hung out with, the wily shenanigans that ensued, etc. What struck me was how blunt she was about her own feelings of inadequacy.

One post admitted that she had felt that much of her writing was "trite" and that she often felt out of place when hanging out with contemporary artists who the general public thought were on par with her but who she saw as, somehow, more legit. I'm paraphrasing something awful here.

Point is: here's an artist that I adore saying in so many words that she sometimes feels like she sucks. I mention it because I feel like I see this all the time in creative people. We have to be so good at being self-critical and self-honest in order to do the work we do. These abilities are great but so easily become a run away train. Bad metaphor. I know. (But, see what I mean).

I want to know where the obsession for improvement comes from? On second thought, maybe I don't give a shit. Maybe I just want to know how to harness it. It's not that I want to get rid of it (all we need in the world is more apathy and mediocrity). I want to use it. I want to make it into a tool rather than a personality trait. What's that saying.

You have to be able to see yourself with brutal honesty. But you also need to know that that honesty is medicine, not a weapon.

I'm sure that tomorrow I will look at this and it won't sound as good to me as it does right now. It will seem preachy and verbose. It'll be old news. I'll be over it. I will have moved on. Then I'll do something else. And that is a very, very good thing.


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